THE ROSES YOU BUY OR RECEIVE
THIS VALENTINE'S DAY
ARE LIKELY FROM BOGOTÁ, COLOMBIA
Americans will buy over 200-million roses
this Valentine's Day, and virtually all of them (90%)
are grown in and imported from Colombia.
Better known for its fine coffees and its illicit cocaine,
Colombia is also the world's biggest producer of roses,
almost all of which go straight to the U.S.
To limit coca farming and expand job opportunities
in Colombia, the U.S. government in 1991
suspended import duties on Colombian flowers.
And thus was born a booming billion dollar annual "rose trade"
which today employs 200,000 people.
Thousands of green houses can be seen from the air,
most no more than plastic sheeting stapled to wooden frames.
There is simply no better place to be a rose
than in the valleys surrounding Bogotá, Colombia
with constant sunlight year round, 9,000-foot altitude,
cool humid nights, and warm dry days.
Thirty-five cargo planes depart Bogotá El Dorado airport
every night to supply the hungry U.S. demand.
Every single flower box must be X-rayed for
illicit drugs before it is allowed to leave.
(So no need to check inside your
perfect Colombian rose petals!)